When a person is lost to accidental death, their family members may not at first completely realize how this is bound to affects them. The implications become much harder to bear if the death happened as a result of someone else’s negligence. If a car crash, a defective consumer product, or any other cause deprives you of a loved one, it would likely leave a void in ways you never imagined. In the state of California, there is a wrongful death statute in place which allows the bereaved to seek compensation from responsible parties.
Anyone with requisite legal rights can bring a wrongful death claim in a court of law. Wrongful death lawyers with sufficient skill and knowledge can help untangle the complexities surrounding the obtainment of a recovery, as well as the matter of how the same gets divided amongst surviving family.
Not everyone related to the decedent by blood can file a wrongful death claim. California law is specific about this, and lays out the following parties as eligible.
- The personal representative to the estate of the decedent can claim certain damages, as can a descendant’s successor in interest, who is acting on their behalf.
- A surviving spouse, or the decedent’s last domestic partner
- Children of the decedent
- In some scenarios, people or parties who would be entitled to a share of the decedent’s estate, because the latter died without leaving a will
- In rare circumstances, members of the household that were reliant on the victim in the financial sense
For Parties with Standing
Different modes of compensation are available for a person pursuing a wrongful death claim. The decedent’s estate, for example, may be entitled to having some of its losses compensated, including pre-death medical bills;family memberssurviving the decedent may be compensated for loss of comfort, care, and society (under non-economic losses) and loss of support (under economic damages).
Courts in California have the authority to disburse proceeds to and among eligible family members, in cases where the latter have failed to reach an agreement. For a person or party entitled to receiving a designated recovery, it is best to reach a compromise with other members of the family. If that fails to happen, the court steps in and decides who gets what out of the wrongful death lawsuit.